Showing posts from 2018

We've Moved!

After 8 years of being hosted on Blogger Lovin' Tellin' the Story has moved to it's own website with a new name - Telling The Story Press. For the time being this blog will remain live until everything can be transitioned over and we can redirect the traffic to the new site. Please follow the link below to join us at the new location.

In Christ,

Christian Herring

Life and Liberty: NIFLA v. Becerra

North Carolina (my home state) is one of 17 states that has some form of alcoholic beverage control commission. This commission operates a number of ABC stores which, in our parlance, is code for "where you go to get liquor." This commission comes under the authority of the Department of Public Safety - a part of the state government. According to their website, NC ABC stores generate approximately $1 billion annually through the sale of controlled beverages. That's a pretty penny, no?

Imagine with me for a moment that the State of NC passed a law that required substance abuse rehab centers to post prominent advertisements for the nearest ABC store in the welcome area of their facilities. That would seem rather ludicrous would it not? Compelling an organization who's mission is to help people stop abusing alcohol to display advertising for the government sponsored alcohol sales commission (which generates billions of dollars in state income) could be described as un…

God's Puzzle Box: The Bible in the Christian Life

My kids love to put together puzzles. Our son, who is almost four, is particularly adept at putting them together but his sister is quickly gaining proficiency. The thing about puzzles, and I'm sure you realize this from your own experience, is that even the most elementary puzzle is very hard to put together without seeing the picture on the lid of the box. At this point you're probably thinking I'm going to talk about "seeing the big picture" or something like that. Well, I'm not, at least not directly. What I want to address is the Word of God - the Bible. Specifically, the role that we allow the Word of God to play in our lives.

In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul writes these words, so that you may learn the meaning of the saying: "Nothing beyond what is written." That sounds rather cryptic but the point that he is making is that he and Apollos had set an example for the Corinthians of living a life according to God's Word (what is written). Unfortu…

Self-confidence to God-confidence

If you're anything like me, it is easy to listen to all the voices that speak into your life. People who either encourage, or discourage you. People who believe in you, and those who don't. Those who try to affirm your gifts and calling, and those who try to convince you that you're mistaken. The list could go on.

Now, Dr. Phil, and Oprah, and Dr. Drew, and Joel Osteen, and Tony Robbins are all going to give you some ideas about how to deal with those negative voices that bark into your ear. Some might even have some advice about what to do when the voice is your's. Well, here's the good news; what you are experiencing is nothing new. In fact, even the apostle Paul dealt with this issue. Here's the even better news; God's Word - the Bible - offers us true, godly, wisdom on how to deal with it, not trendy human wisdom.

In 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 Paul gives us a recipe for what I'm going to call "God-confidence." It isn't self-confidence, or se…

Christianity and Weed

Two nights a week I teach Adult Basic Education at our local prison...I mean "correctional institution." Naturally, many of the people who find their way into prison have had some experience with drugs, and sadly, many are hoping to have more experience with drugs after they leave. So, last night somehow the topic of marijuana (weed, smoke, bud, pot, Mary Jane, etc.) was brought up in our discussion of World War Two (Please don't ask me how. They can turn the conversation to weed if you're talking about Mother Teresa). Of course, these guys know that I am a pastor and a Christian so comments were made about how the Bible doesn't tell us we can't smoke dope and so on. Then, as I'm riding home Al Mohler brings up the topic of marijuana in yesterday's (2/1/2018) episode of the "The Briefing." His point was that marijuana usage is up in America but in other forms besides smoking it, and how more and more states are trying to jump on the legaliz…

4 Things You Need to Know About the Church

We're just going to keep making our way through 1 Corinthians 3 by looking at verses 16-17 today. If the foundational truth is that Jesus is the foundation, then these two verses help describe what he is building. This is not a comprehensive statement about what the Church is but these four truths will help us gain a healthy and biblical view of the Church. 

1. You (y'all) are the temple of God.
Throughout human history God has always found a way to dwell with his people. During the time before the Fall God simply walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. The first two humans enjoyed a relationship with God that we can only dream about until we enter into eternity. During the time of the patriarchs God appeared to his people in various ways, but he didn't really dwell with them in any kind of permanent fashion. Then, as Israel was wandering around in the wilderness God chose to dwell with them in the tabernacle. Though it was nothing more than a portable "tent&q…

Foundational Truths

In this post I want to continue with the notion that the local church is to be a missionary outpost and consider the foundation upon which we are to build that outpost. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 Paul writes,

According to God's grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one is to be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation that what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 

Risking a pun, it could be said that this truth is "foundational" for the life of each Christian and each local expression of the Body of Christ. After all, Paul is writing to a church, not an individual like he did with Timothy, and the foundation that he laid was that of the local church in Corinth.

Now, we know from the preceding verses that God is the one who is really giving growth to his church. However, it is equally clear that even though God is the source of the growth, in his sover…

Cultural Icon to Missionary Outpost: The Shift We Must Make in How We View the Local Church

There was a time, not so long ago, when Christianity was the dominant religious force in our culture. As you may or may not know, I write from the context of the "Bible Belt" and I believe this shift away from cultural Christianity has happened slower here than in other places in our nation and world. However, even if it has happened almost imperceptibly, it has happened none the less. You see even back when I was a kid (1980's and 90's) there was an overall sense that going to church was what you did on Sunday morning, and it was good and right. Generally speaking the values and morals of the culture were Judeo-Christian values and morals. Society as a whole understood and used the language of the Church, and it could be said that in some, very real ways, America was a "Christian nation," if only in the same way that one could say the Roman Empire was after Constantine. Such is not the case anymore - and this isn't all bad.

Most any survey will tell y…

Milk vs Steak

The church that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to had a problem. Sure, there were divisions among them over which teacher the preferred, or which pastor had baptized them. Some claimed Paul, others Apollos or Cephas; others still simply claimed Christ. However, as Paul points out in the beginning of chapter 3, this was just a symptom of a larger problem - spiritual immaturity. For this reason Paul calls them "babies in Christ" who were only capable of feeding on milk rather than solid food. What would Paul have to say if he were writing 1 Americans today?

First let me make an important point of clarification before digging into this passage. Paul is writing to people he addresses as "brothers and sisters," "those sanctified in Christ Jesus," "called as saints" and so forth. There is no question in the apostle's mind that he is writing to people who have been redeemed. He's writing to Christians! I say that to hopefully ward off any idea that …

How Can I know That I Am Saved?

I’m sure many Christians, and most pastors, have been asked, “How can I know that I’m saved?” Let’s just state up front that this is a monumental question that deserves our utmost attention and care. After all, we’re talking about someone’s everlasting soul here, and there have been volumes written on the subject. What follows is my feeble attempt to answer that question concisely, carefully, and biblically (I care more about the last one than the other two).
Before we go any further I want to answer the precursor question which is also very important, “Can I know that I am saved?” Some would say, no, you cannot know you are saved. Rather, you must simply fling yourself on the mercy and grace of God and hope for the best. I say that is wrong, cruel, a tool of the enemy, and not at all what the Bible teaches. Whenever the Bible speaks about salvation it is always in very concrete, absolute terms. There are no “maybe’s”, or “might’s”, or “perhaps.’” Instead you find the Bible talk about…